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6 common WordPress errors and their quick fixes

6 common WordPress errors and their quick fixes

Posted 14th May, 2019 by William

Every platform has its flaws. When it comes to WordPress, there are a few common errors you may encounter while working on your site, ranging from mild annoyances to serious problems.

Fortunately, experienced WordPress users have found ways to quickly fix those errors. By learning these solutions, you’ll be prepared to deal with issues swiftly and effectively.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at six of the most common WordPress errors and how to resolve them.

Why you may encounter errors on your WordPress site

There are a few reasons you’ll probably see errors on your WordPress site at some point. Some are due to simple human mistakes or problems with your server. However, there are also specific WordPress characteristics that can lead to issues.

For example, since it’s an open source platform, WordPress has contributors who create thousands of themes and plug-ins. Although this is one of the platform’s strengths, it can also lead to compatibility issues. It’s impossible for any one developer to account for every other contributor’s code, just to ensure that everything works smoothly.

Ultimately, dealing with errors is simply one of the many responsibilities of managing a website. Learning about common issues and their fixes can position you to resolve them quickly and minimise negative consequences.

6 common WordPress errors and their quick fixes

While there are plenty of errors that can occur within WordPress, these are six of the most common. Let’s start with the most infamous issue.

1. The White Screen of Death

When faced with the White Screen of Death (WSoD), your website will display a blank screen in place of some or all of its pages. This is often the result of a compatibility issue with a new plug-in or theme.

If your site has an activity log, you can look for the most recently installed or updated plug-ins and themes. One of them is likely to be the problem and deactivating it should resolve the issue. You can also deactivate your plug-ins and themes one by one, until you find the source.

In some instances, the WSoD will prevent you from accessing your admin area. If that’s the case, you’ll need to remove the offending plug-in or theme via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). If that doesn’t fix the issue, the WSoD could also be the result of you hitting your memory limit. You can try increasing it by editing your wp-config.php file to see if that brings your site back online.

In the event that both of these fixes fail to revive your site, putting it in debug mode can help you pinpoint the problem. In debug mode, you’ll receive notifications regarding issues with your site, which should show you where the problem is.

2. Internal server error

An internal server error is when something has gone wrong, but your server isn’t exactly sure what the problem is. The first way to approach this problem is to look for plug-in or theme compatibility issues and increase your memory limit, as described in the previous section.

However, it’s also likely that your site’s .htaccess file has become corrupted. To fix it, access the file via FTP and change its name to .htaccess_old. Then reload your site. If the internal server error is resolved, log-in to your site and reset your default permalink structure by navigating to Settings > Permalinks. This will generate a new .htaccess file.

If none of these solutions fix the error, it’s also possible that the problem lies with your server and not with the site itself. In that case, you’ll have to contact your hosting provider to see if they’re able to help resolve the issue.

3. Error establishing a database connection

If you see this error, it means there’s a problem with the connection to your database. Usually, the root of the error in establishing a database connection lies in your wp-config.php file.

Using FTP, access wp-config.php on your server and open it. Then, check to make sure your database name, username, password and host are correctly listed in the file. If any of this information is incorrect, replace it and save the file.

On the other hand, if you’re sure that the information is correct, your next step will be to manually reset your database password. You should be able to do this via either phpMyAdmin or your hosting panel.

4. Connection timed-out

A timed-out connection usually occurs because your server can’t keep up with everything your site is trying to do. If you’re on a shared server, this problem is even more common as you’re competing for server space with other sites.

Checking for plug-in and theme incompatibilities and increasing your memory limit can sometimes solve the problem. However, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll need to contact your hosting provider to fix this error.

If you’re on a shared server and this error occurs more than once, it may be time to consider upgrading your hosting. Choosing a hosting plan that can handle all the tasks your site is trying to accomplish may cost more, but it can save you from having to face this error repeatedly.

5. Stuck in maintenance mode after updating

Whenever you update WordPress, your site displays a page that says it’s “unavailable for scheduled maintenance”. This is a handy feature, unless your site gets stuck in maintenance mode after the update is complete.

When this occurs, you’re usually locked out of your admin area as well. So you’ll have to use FTP to access your files and resolve the error. After you’ve connected to your server, look for the file named .maintenance and delete it.

In the event that you can’t find the .maintenance file, you’ll probably need to force your FTP client to show hidden files. Additionally, once you’ve located and removed the .maintenance file, you should make sure that the update was completed successfully. If not, you’ll probably need to update WordPress manually.

6. Changes aren’t visible on your site

Finally, what if you’ve just made an important update to one of your pages or posts but it’s not showing up on the front end? Before you assume the worst, you’ll want to make sure it’s not a simple caching issue.

Sometimes, small changes don’t register as important to your browser and it will continue serving the cached version of your page, instead of the updated one. Therefore, simply clear your browser cache to see the changes appear on your site.


Troubleshooting can be time-consuming, which is why learning some quick fixes for common issues is handy. By preparing yourself to tackle well-known WordPress errors, you’ll speed up your response time significantly.

In this post, we examined six common WordPress errors and their quick fixes:

  1. The White Screen of Death
  2. Internal server errors
  3. Errors establishing a database connection
  4. Timed out connection issues
  5. Sites that get stuck in maintenance mode after updating
  6. Changes that aren’t visible on your site

Categories: WordPress, Tips

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